Album Notes | Track Listing | Review

Orpheus - Ascending: Bruce Arnold, Jack McKennes, Eric Gulliksen, Harry Sandler
Orpheus - Ascending: Bruce Arnold, Jack McKennes, Eric Gulliksen, Harry Sandler
Original album art ) Iris Properties, Inc.
Used with permission

Orpheus' second album, Ascending, was recorded in May of 1968. By this time the group's live performances had become smooth, precise and polished, and producer Alan Lorber elected to try to capture some of this ambience in the recording. Accordingly, Orpheus' own instrumental work was featured more than it had been previously, and the material selected for inclusion showed the group's versatility and breadth.

With songs ranging from the orchestrated show-stopper I'll Fly to the jug band / roaring twenties styling of Borneo, from the campy Don't Be So Serious to the intimate and beautiful ballad Mine's Yours, this album became a showcase for the individual and collective talents of the group. The magnificent Walk Away Renée, with its extraordinary group vocal harmonies, helped Ascending to win a Top 10 place in the 1969 Playboy magazine Best Vocal Album reader poll. Even more significantly, the album ranked higher in the poll results than such classics as Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles, By The Time I Get To Phoenix by Glen Campbell, Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin, and Simply Streisand by Barbra Streisand, to name just a few.

Nevertheless, the group's folk roots were preserved. The songs Just A Little Bit and So Far Away In Love had actually been written several years earlier, and had been mainstays of the performances of the folk duo The Villagers (one of the predecessors of Orpheus), comprising Jack and Bruce.

Ascending was released in July of 1968 as MGM SE-4569, and rode Billboard magazine's Top Pop Albums chart for 12 weeks, peaking at no. 159.

During the same recording sessions, Orpheus also recorded the theme song for the MGM film "Marlowe," which starred James Garner as Raymond Chandler's private detective character Philip Marlowe. The movie, based on Chandler's novel The Little Sister, has become a cult favorite.

Click on the song titles to hear sound clips

I'll Fly
Just Got Back
Mine's Yours
Don't Be So Serious
So Far Away In Love
She's Not There
Love Over Here
Just A Little Bit
Walk Away Renée
Magic Air

Little Sister (Theme from "Marlowe")

This is a "Limited Reissue," authorized by

and is available only at performances of Orpheus Reborn

or Stephen and The Snake.

All but the Bonus Track are available for digital download from eMusic, iTunes,, msnMusic, Napster and Rhapsody.

All information in the album notes above is a matter of public record.
All performances and most songs copyright by Iris Properties, Inc.; clips posted with permission

The name "Orpheus" ® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Iris Music Group; Reg. No. 3,466,258.

The following review has been excerpted from an article entitled Boston Groups - Second Time Around,

...With a highly successful tour of the United States under their belts, Orpheus is climbing the charts with their second LP which is titled Orpheus Ascending. Their first album, Orpheus, did extremely well in sales not only in the New England area but also throughout the entire United States. That LP contains such beautiful music that I never thought it would be possible for Orpheus to generate another album which would surpass or even equal their first; yet Harry Sandler, Jack McKennes, Bruce Arnold and John Eric (Snake) Gulliksen have done just that. The group's material is basically all original with the exception of two cuts, She's Not There and Walk Away Renée, both of which are done in unique and different arrangements as only Orpheus can do. Perhaps the most beautiful cut on their new album is Roses, a soft and tender ballad of love with the sound of the ocean in the background.

Harry Sandler, the percussion man for Orpheus, surprises us all on this new LP by singing his first composition entitled
Magic Air. Just A Little Bit, another beautiful ballad by Bruce Arnold, creates an air of love and warmth which can only be done by Orpheus. Believe me, this recording (the entire album) is a masterpiece of music.

By Charles G. Martignette, Jr.

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